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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit administration  →  Thread

UC carers element and Carers Allowance

GCH Tenancy Sustainment
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Tenancy Sustainment Team Gloucester City Homes (GCH)

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Hi All,

I have a client that has been claiming carers allowance continuously since November 2019 and it has been deducted from her UC every month. She recently ended the CA claim due to separation and came to me for help as now benefit capped. Upon checking her UC payments i have noticed that the carers element has not been paid throughout the whole claim. (i assume due to not saying she was a carer on the original declaration - client error).

Is there anything in the UC regs that should auto apply the carer element when in receipt of CA or anything i can use to request a backdate?

Thanks

Elliot Kent
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UC make a habit of failing to apply the carers element in cases where carers allowance is being deducted. This is usually because the claimant has not specifically made a point of identifying themselves as being a carer in the initial application or a subsequent report - in the cases I have done, we have just put it in as a ‘change of circumstances’ on the journal, requested backdating to the start of the award (or start of CA entitlement) and the decision maker has eventually approved this.

However in all of the cases I have done, we have been within the 13 month window to request either a late MR or to make a late report of a change of circumstances, so it hasn’t been necessary to worry too much about the specific regulations.

In your case, as the entitlement is from November 2019, you are outside of this timeframe and you would need to establish a ground for “any time” revision to go all the way back to the start of the claim.

I think that there is a ground for any time revision as the failure to include the carers element is official error. This is because (1) the UC department was demonstrably aware of the fact that your client was receiving carers allowance because they were deducting it from the award each month and (2) the fact that your client was receiving carers allowance necessarily gave rise to an entitlement to the carers element - there were no further questions to ask.

I don’t think that the fact that the claimant failed to tick the box to say they are a carer at the start of the claim is relevant. UC were fully aware that the claimant was a carer because they knew that she was getting carers allowance. I don’t see how they would be entitled to just ignore facts within their own knowledge because the claimant didn’t input data correctly.

GCH Tenancy Sustainment
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Thanks Elliot… font of all knowledge as always!

Would you still recommend to report it as a change of circs back to the start date if she is no longer caring? And then report another change to stop the caring?

Elliot Kent
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Good question. I’m not immediately sure. I think that a ‘change of circumstances’ entry of some description will need to be made. In an ideal world, I like to think that if it was accompanied by a journal entry explaining exactly when they were claiming, the DWP would be able to figure out the rest. That may be too optimistic though.

AlexJ
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Hi,

The following might help with this case.

Under paragraph 31 of schedule 1 of the UC, PIP, JSA and ESA (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations 2013, a change of circumstances takes effect from the date on which it occurred, where that change is receipt of a relevant benefit (the relevant benefit here is CA). The relevant provision is set out below:

31.—(1) This paragraph applies in relation to an award of personal independence payment or universal credit where the change of circumstances is that the claimant or, in the case of universal credit, a member of their family, becomes entitled to another relevant benefit, ceases so to be entitled or the rate of another such benefit alters.
(2) Where this paragraph applies, the superseding decision takes effect from—
(a)where the superseding decision concerns universal credit, the first day of the assessment period in which—
(i)the entitlement to the other benefit arises;
(ii)the entitlement to the other benefit ends; or
(iii)entitlement to a different rate of the other benefit arises;

I know this isn’t technically a change of circumstances, as the client got CA from the start of the UC claim, but the principle is clear that entitlement to the additional element arises from whenever the ‘relevant benefit’ (i.e. CA) is payable.

I hope this helps.

Alex

GCH Tenancy Sustainment
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Thanks Alex

It certainly is….will add to the anytime revision request.

Fingers crossed UC don’t take forever to make a decision :)

Charles
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AlexJ - 12 August 2021 11:14 AM

Hi,

The following might help with this case.

Under paragraph 31 of schedule 1 of the UC, PIP, JSA and ESA (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations 2013, a change of circumstances takes effect from the date on which it occurred, where that change is receipt of a relevant benefit (the relevant benefit here is CA). The relevant provision is set out below:

31.—(1) This paragraph applies in relation to an award of personal independence payment or universal credit where the change of circumstances is that the claimant or, in the case of universal credit, a member of their family, becomes entitled to another relevant benefit, ceases so to be entitled or the rate of another such benefit alters.
(2) Where this paragraph applies, the superseding decision takes effect from—
(a)where the superseding decision concerns universal credit, the first day of the assessment period in which—
(i)the entitlement to the other benefit arises;
(ii)the entitlement to the other benefit ends; or
(iii)entitlement to a different rate of the other benefit arises;

I know this isn’t technically a change of circumstances, as the client got CA from the start of the UC claim, but the principle is clear that entitlement to the additional element arises from whenever the ‘relevant benefit’ (i.e. CA) is payable.

I hope this helps.

Alex

What is more relevant is probably Reg. 12 of those Regulations.

The problem is that DWP may argue that Reg only applies where the CA award was made after the UC award, but backdated to before the UC award was made.

I haven’t got time to look for it now, but I’m pretty sure “Tom H” (who used to post on here some years ago) discussed this sort of scenario in some old threads on here.

I think Elliot’s argument of Official Error should certainly work though.

HB Anorak
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I have had similar discussions about the equivalent rule in HB&CTB; D&A Reg 4.  Stainsby, who is still an occasional visitor round here, always argued that the reg could be read so that it didn’t matter in which order the events occurred.  My view was that both a natural reading and an understanding of the policy intention require that the UC decision is made first and the other benefit is then awarded later in arrears, pulling the rug from under the existing UC decision.  The regulation deals with the mischief of the other benefit not being awarded until after the expiry of the normal time limit for revision on any grounds and/or ignorance of the facts.  Where the other benefit is already in payment at the time of the UC decision, the rest of the D&A framework is sufficient to deal with that - speak up within a month, or make do with a superseding decision from a later date, or (as in this case) establish a different “any time” ground for revision such as official error.

 

James Craig
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Elliot Kent - 11 August 2021 04:58 PM

UC make a habit of failing to apply the carers element in cases where carers allowance is being deducted. This is usually because the claimant has not specifically made a point of identifying themselves as being a carer in the initial application or a subsequent report - in the cases I have done, we have just put it in as a ‘change of circumstances’ on the journal, requested backdating to the start of the award (or start of CA entitlement) and the decision maker has eventually approved this.

I’m currently helping a client who is having Carer’s Allowance deducted from her UC and not getting the carer element, even though she declared herself to be a carer at the outset of her UC claim and this is clear from her online account. When she asked to be given the carer element she was told to upload her CA award letter, as proof that she was getting the payments that UC were already deducting!

Ianb
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James Craig - 12 August 2021 05:16 PM

When she asked to be given the carer element she was told to upload her CA award letter, as proof that she was getting the payments that UC were already deducting!

which is irrelevant information anyway as being in receipt of CA is not a requirement for getting the carer element.

Charles
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HB Anorak - 12 August 2021 01:59 PM

I have had similar discussions about the equivalent rule in HB&CTB; D&A Reg 4.  Stainsby, who is still an occasional visitor round here, always argued that ...

It’s probably your discussions that I’m remembering seeing then. Sorry!